The only sound I could hear in the dark Gryffindor tower were my bare feet hitting the stone steps as I descended down into the Common Room, heading for the Fat Lady's portrait. It was a few hours after curfew and I just couldn't sleep. So, I thought a nice swim in the Prefect's bath would relax me.
After checking that the halls were deserted like the Common Room, I headed for the Prefect's Bathroom. The massive bathroom was so beautiful from its stained glass windows to its Olympic-sized marble bathtub. After filling the tub with luke-warm water, I removed my bathrobe and draped it over the empty towel rack along with my towel.
I stepped up to the edge of the tub watching the light from the room dance off not only the bottom of the tub, but off of my one-piece midnight-blue bathing suit. Taking a deep breath I dove in. I felt so free underwater with no restraints, no gravity. I could do anything. Every time I resurfaced, I would get out and then dive back in.
I repeated my actions again, got out, watched the water dance, and dove back in.
My head collided with something hard, sending a numb feeling through my body and everything faded away.
When I came to, I was still in the water and to my relief after hitting my head, I didn't feel any pain. So, I shrugged it off and started to do a few laps.
I soon heard the sound of knocking echoing.
"Hello?" called a muffled voice.
I broke the surface, finding, to my great surprise Cedric Diggory in the room. He clearly had the same idea as me for using the Prefect's bath to relax. He was wearing a pair of swimming trunks, sandals and he was also holding a bathrobe and a towel.
I opened my mouth to say hello, but I found that my voice was gone.
"Hello?" Cedric asked again.
I raised my hand and waved at him, but he ignored me. Why was he ignoring me?
"Is someone in here?"
Cedric was now standing next to the tub, watching the dancing lights off the water when suddenly his eyes grew wide in terror.
"Oh, my God!"
He quickly threw his things aside and kicked off his sandals before diving into the water and heading for figure floating at the bottom of the pool.
Who was that? I thought I was alone.
I watched as he broke the surface of the water, dragged the figure about two feet away from the tub and was now hovering over them.
"Granger, can you hear me?"
Granger? Was he talking to me?
I moved over to the other side of the figure and found to my horror that figure was... me.
I didn't look like myself. My skin was a pasty grey and my lips were blue, pieces of my hair were stuck to my forehead and cheeks. Cedric asked again if I could hear him, when I didn't respond he began to show signs of panic on his face. He leaned his ear over my mouth and nose.
"Oh, God, no!" he gasped.
He carefully turned my head so that my face was looking towards the ceiling and brushed my hair away from my face.
I watched in amazement as Cedric Diggory, the Hogwarts Quidditch star tried so hard to save me. He would blow into my mouth and then gently begin to press down on my chest.
"Come on, Granger," he panted after blowing into my mouth again. "Don't do this. Please!"
Why was he trying so hard to save me? I don't even know him!
Cedric slowly stopped pumping my chest and placed his fingers on my neck.
He sighed, hovered over me and began to brush back my hair again. When a sob escaped his lips I knew I was dead.
I sighed as I closed my eyes.
Water. I could feel water rise up from my lungs and settle in my mouth. The taste was so bitter and foul that I started to cough and choke.
I coughed harder, feeling the water trickle out of the sides of my mouth as I opened my eyes.
There he was. Cedric Diggory hovering over me. His beautiful blue-grey eyes that held so much fear and sorrow were beginning to show relief, a small smile grazing his lips. But there were also white lights all around him.
"Granger," he said again as he carefully held me to his chest. "Thank God!"
"Cedric," I whimpered.
"Hermione," he soothed as he began slowly rock me back and forth. "It's okay you're okay."
"Cedric, my head," I whimpered again as a dull, throbbing pain radiated from behind my left ear. I watched hazily as Cedric inspected my head, the white lights around him would dull and brighten with even the slightest movement he made.
"It's okay," he said again, tucking one arm under my legs, the other around my back, carefully lifting me from the floor and hurrying out of room.
This wasn't really happening, I thought hazily. Cedric wouldn't really being doing this. I'm hallucinating; my body is still too weak.
I started to breathe heavily as weakly laid my head on Cedric's chest. As I fought to keep my eyes open, I raised my hand and gently started to caress where his heart was.
"Cedric," I whispered before letting darkness take me.
When I came to, it felt like there was a 20 pound weight slowly applying pressure to my head. Slowly I blinked my eyes but quickly regretted it as the sunlight from the windows nearly blinded me. I groaned as I covered my eyes with my hand and closed them.
"Are you okay?" I felt someone remove my hand from my face and hold it tightly.
I opened my eyes to find Cedric Diggory kneeling at my bedside, fully dressed in a pair of black jeans and a white T-shirt that I couldn't help noticing was very revealing; he was holding my hand close to his chest.
"Hi," he smiled.
"Hi," I said back.
"You're awake," he said, still smiling. "You really scared me."
I whimpered as I looked away.
"Hey, what is it?" Cedric asked.
I said nothing, still looking away. I could feel his hand on my cheek but I pushed it away.
"What's wrong?" Cedric asked, sounding confused. "Why won't you look at me?"
I whimpered in response. How could I possibly tell him that when I look at him all I see is a shirtless undersea god who has no business with someone as low class as me.
"Hey." He turned my head to face him, but this time I didn't fight him. "It's okay, I'm not going to hurt you," he said as he started to caress my cheek. "I could never hurt you."
I smiled weakly then let out an agonizing groan as the pressure of the 20 pound weight doubled. I wrenched my hand free of Cedric's hold and covered my face with both hands.
"What's wrong?" Cedric asking, concern in his voice as he rose to his feet.
"My head!" I sobbed.
I could feel someone trying to pry my hands away from my face.
"Just relax, Miss Granger."
I continued to sob as I tried my best relax. I soon felt a pinch in the crook of left arm. The feeling of numbness and the need for sleep flooded my body. I looked over at Cedric and started to smile.
"What?" he asked with a smile of his own as he knelt down next to me.
"White lights," I said weakly. "There's white light around you."
Cedric chuckled as he started to stroke my hair. "You're seeing things, they're not real."
"No," I said stubbornly. "They are real because…"
The next day I was wandering the halls. Classes were over and had I one destination in mind.
"Hermione, what are you doing?"
I said nothing as I gave the password to the Prefect's Bathroom and entered the room. It was the same from the night before, the tub was still filled.
For almost a full minute, I watched the water dance before I removed my shoes and shocks leaving my other clothes on.
"Hermione, no! Don't!"
I dove into the water and the feeling of freedom returned. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Sure I was here the day before, but after having a near-death experience, everything seems unreal, anew.
The sound of someone diving in caused me to turn around. Cedric stared at me with a look of confusion and concern. We just stared at each other, small bubbles escaping our lips. Then before I knew what I was doing or could stop myself, I rocketed toward Cedric, wrapping my legs and arms around his waist and neck. He looked deep into eyes before slowly bringing his lips to mine, I didn't hesitate to respond.
All too soon, the need for oxygen caused us to break apart. Still holding tightly to him, Cedric made for the surface. We were both breathing heavily still looking into each other's eyes. Cedric's face suddenly became serious and slightly angered.
"Don't ever scare me like that again," he ordered. He sighed and bowed his head. "I almost lost you once..."
I stared at him in surprise. Was he serious? I wondered.
I tucked my finger under his chin and lifted it so he would look me in the eye. I was surprised to see a single tear run down his cheek.
I hugged Cedric to me tightly. "I'm sorry," I whispered in his ear. He tightened his hold on me.
We just stood there in the water holding each other when I noticed...
I turned around in Cedric's arms and stared at the stain glass window of a mermaid.
"What is it?" he asked his arms securely around my waist.
"White lights," I said as I laid my hands over his. "I told you they were real."
"But, it was night when I found you," Cedric explained. "There wasn't any sunlight."
I sighed as I leaned against him, and turned to look at him. "Maybe they mean something else."
Cedric looked at me in confusion and I smiled at him. "I was watching you save me. The fear, determination, and… love," I said with difficulty. "That showed me that it wasn't my time to leave."
Cedric scoffed and shook his head.
"It's because of you that I'm standing here in heavy, soaked clothes with your arms around me."
Cedric tightened his arms around me. He smiled, kissed my forehead and we returned our attention back to window, enjoying the moment of being of being bathed in white lights.